The following are some basic principles of wildlife watching and wildlife photography to follow:
• Never approach an animal too closely. Each species has different tolerance levels for interaction with humans. In areas where hunting is not allowed, the animals will generally be much more tolarant of close encounters with humans.
• As you watch animals, look for signs of agitation, aggressive behavior, warning calls or distraction techniques. If you see such signs, you're too close, back away slowly and quietly. Respect their space.
• If you come upon a young animal or eggs, do not touch them! The parent may reject the baby if it smells human odors on its young or in the nest.
• Never feed or bait wildlife to lure them closer.
Many people feed wildlife as a form of entertainment. Feeding the wrong diet to a baby animal even for a day or two can permanently damage developing muscles, bones and tissues, making survival impossible. Even feeding supposedly “healthy” food is harmful because it alters the animal's foraging patterns and can cause overpopulation which ultimately will lead to starvation.
Wildlife watching can be an exciting, lifelong pastime. If you follow these guidelines you will help the wildlife to remain wild for many future generations to enjoy!
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis) is a state animal of Colorado.
Migratory Lark Bunting (Calamospiza melancorys Stejneger) is a state bird of Colorado.
The Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly (Hypaurotis crysalus) is the official state insect.
List of Threatened and Endangered Species